Borno, Adamawa IDP camps are receiving more people, say official

Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima

Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima

DESPITE the successes recorded by the Nigerian military in the fight against insurgency in the North-East, the number of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) has continued to rise in the various camps in Borno and Adamawa states, officials have said.

Similarly, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Borno State Ministry of Health have refuted rumours that abortion and sterilisation was being administered on women and girls who were sexually abused by the insurgents.

They said that though some of the women were pregnant when the military rescued them from Sambisa Forest in Borno State and other locations, the choice of what to do with the condition is left to the victims and their families.

In the meantime, the partners say they are providing counselling and psychosocial services to the people in the camps to enable them live normal lives again.

Speaking with newsmen at a teleconference in Abuja, Commissioner for Health in Borno State, Dr. Salma Kolo, noted that the number of persons admitted to the camps was not decreasing.

“At the moment, we have about 21 camps and we have about 45,000 IDPs within the camps. This was about two weeks ago. The major challenge we have is the burden of care.

“We are still receiving a lot of IDPs. In the last one week, we received over 6,000 IDPs. Almost 80 per cent of them are women and children. Also, we are receiving a lot of women that are pregnant and a lot of them are having babies within the camp. The major challenge also is the human resources, particularly nurses and midwives. Another major challenge that we have is trying to identify women, especially girls that have been abused by Boko Haram. They are not talking to us because of the fear of stigma.”

On the rumour of abortions in the camps, she refuted this and said: “No abortions are taking place here in Borno. What we have done is to set up a centre for psychosocial support and rehabilitation where we take girls from the camps for training and trauma management. We don’t have cases of abortions within our camps in Borno.”

Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, stated: “I am glad that the two persons that have spoken with you have debunked the views that we, through government, or through any other agency, advocated for abortion or sterilisation as being carried in the Nigerian press.”

Permanent Secretary at Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency, Haruna Hamman Furo, also refuted the story about abortions, confirming, however, that the number of persons at the camps in the state was increasing.

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